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Bayesian inference for indirectly observed stochastic processes, applications to epidemic modelling

Dureau, Joseph (2013) Bayesian inference for indirectly observed stochastic processes, applications to epidemic modelling. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

Stochastic processes are mathematical objects that offer a probabilistic representation of how some quantities evolve in time. In this thesis we focus on estimating the trajectory and parameters of dynamical systems in cases where only indirect observations of the driving stochastic process are available. We have first explored means to use weekly recorded numbers of cases of Influenza to capture how the frequency and nature of contacts made with infected individuals evolved in time. The latter was modelled with diffusions and can be used to quantify the impact of varying drivers of epidemics as holidays, climate, or prevention interventions. Following this idea, we have estimated how the frequency of condom use has evolved during the intervention of the Gates Foundation against HIV in India. In this setting, the available estimates of the proportion of individuals infected with HIV were not only indirect but also very scarce observations, leading to specific difficulties. At last, we developed a methodology for fractional Brownian motions (fBM), here a fractional stochastic volatility model, indirectly observed through market prices. The intractability of the likelihood function, requiring augmentation of the parameter space with the diffusion path, is ubiquitous in this thesis. We aimed for inference methods robust to refinements in time discretisations, made necessary to enforce accuracy of Euler schemes. The particle Marginal Metropolis Hastings (PMMH) algorithm exhibits this mesh free property. We propose the use of fast approximate filters as a pre-exploration tool to estimate the shape of the target density, for a quicker and more robust adaptation phase of the asymptotically exact algorithm. The fBM problem could not be treated with the PMMH, which required an alternative methodology based on reparameterisation and advanced Hamiltonian Monte Carlo techniques on the diffusion pathspace, that would also be applicable in the Markovian setting.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Joseph Dureau
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Sets: Departments > Statistics
Supervisor: Kalogeropoulos, Konstantinos and Bergsma, Wicher
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/619

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